Milla's Volunteering Story
Posted by Victoria Leedham
Milla is a brilliant puppy socialiser from our Cambridge hub, with 5 years worth of volunteer puppy training experience to her name. Milla started volunteering for us when her youngest had just left home to begin university. Following a hip operation, Milla wasn't able to go back to work so she wanted to fill her time with something worthwhile. She saw our article in a local newspaper and had always liked the idea of training an assistance dog puppy, she applied and has not looked back since!
"Our first pup Alvin, a working cross show Cocker Spaniel, came just a few days after the house visit we had as the final part of volunteer assessment. Alvin is a gorgeous red cocker and was already famous having been cuddled by Martin Freeman at the 2013 Hearing Dogs Awards", Milla comments.
Following Alvin, was Marty, another red Cocker Spaniel. Marty came to Milla at 5 months of age and is now a demonstration and applicant assessment dog for the charity - a very important job to have.
"My third one, black labrador girl Nimble, is maybe the most special as I trained her from home. Soundwork training is intensive and the bond becomes very strong as the dog is always close and ready to alert you to sounds. Also, this meant that we had her longer than the pups that went to the training centre for their advanced training. She is now out working with her deaf receipient." Milla and Nimble are photographed below.
"There are obviously many important volunteering roles within the charity, but for me volunteer puppy training is particularly rewarding. It gives a lot of satisfaction to see a tiny pup grow into a well-behaved assistance dog. I'm often asked how we can give the pups up after having them for a year or so. It's not easy but we've known from the beginning it's going to happen. Of course we miss them a lot. But it's good to remember that dogs live in the moment and don't miss us the same. Whichever role they end up having in the charity, they will be very well looked after, much loved, and doing an amazing job. And we can always start again with a new pup!"
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